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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 2, 2011 11:00pm-12:15am EDT

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saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch "after words" online. go to and click on after words in the booktv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. up next, from the new york public library in manhattan, thanassis cambanis talks about the rise and popularity of hezbollah in lebanon. ..
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when we talk about hezbollah and with the idea that it's been successful in spreading throughout the arab world. by way of my introduction to hezbollah i came to this from a slightly different vantage point than most people who focus on the arab-israeli conflict or hezbollah. i was living in iraq for three years after the invasion and focusing most of my coverage as a reporter on the rise of shia islamist parties in the in the years i spent with the activists who are building islamist organizations time and time again people would say to me our model for what we are doing it has hezbollah in lebanon, billy pure organizing our political parties, the social movements we are putting together, the new health care system are the things we are trying to build,
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we are trying to do with hezbollah has done in lebanon and iraq. i started traveling further in the field in the arab world and again during this over and over in context far removed from that hezbollah, the islamists in egypt or jordan, the west bank, basra, constantly citing this group in lebanon that to me was represented by the act of violence from the 1980's that were sort of seared hezbollah in my consciousness and solidified in my mind as this shadowy fringe who did a lot of high-profile suicide bombings and sort of reseeded from my awareness during the years of the iraq war, so i was beginning to get this sense that there was something more to hezbollah than i had understood and something
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that was making it create probably the single most dynamic and appealing idea in the arab islamic world. so in these states, the states some of which we are watching them today, it was a vacuum of politics, vacuum of fresh ideologies, bankrupt, correct regimes against that backdrop hezbollah has successfully created in sold this idea of resistance. islamic resistance but unifying islamic resistance open to people who are neither religious nor muslim. the lebanese national movement that was successful for people who were not lebanese and didn't care what the politics. i was fascinated incurious and wanted to know what was all well, why this group that had begun as a hostage taking barracks bombing underground
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this winter cellular group somehow emerged as the author of the most successful idea in the arab at least. i had my chance to start getting a closer look at hezbollah when the war broke out in the summer of 2006. now, as a war correspondent, the misfortunes of others are always also with opportunities, and in this case these sudden explosions of war from one day to the next went from a border skirmish to an all-out really flemming war and has the law -- hezbollah i scuttled to get to be brewed as fast as i could, i took a cab from damascus and had to pay a price for someone to be willing to drive through the bombs to take me there and my single goal, my main goal was to
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find out as much as i could about hezbollah and its return file support will. the thing i was most concerned about is not just what was the organization about and it's a theology, but who were these hundreds of thousands of people who had turned it into this popular massive and in its own community successful force? i had a simple strategy when i got there, and that was to drive to the border and look for the guys in cargo pants and beards. this was my sword off simple recipe for trying to get to an organization that i expected to be hard to approach especially at a time in which it was engaged in an all-out war with israel what a silly plan that
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might be when i learned no one in lebanon wanted to work with the yy did this. eventually i rented my own car and paired up with an american reporter who spoke arabic and he felt it was a perfectly fine idea and we headed south and began doing what reporters do which is going to morgues and cemeteries and hospitals and finding out where the conflict was occurring and where we might go to find active hezbollah fighters during this time. it took a few weeks or frustrating reversals. we did find a mosque full of guys who looked quite was carried with their beards and cargo pants and we asked them if they were in hezbollah, and they showed us the door very politely but resolutely. [laughter] but eventually, we had our
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opening and halfway through the war when there was a temporary cease-fire, and at this point, if you have any recollection of that war, southern lebanon was a free fall your zone, the bombing was covering something like a father of the country, something like half the population of lebanon had been displaced from its home and northern israel the entire civilian population was also a fair and bomb shelters or fled south. so we are talking about a really an entire country size area that was on fire, under bombardment, and there was a one day break cease-fire that was essentially called by israel unilaterally to give civilians one last chance to lead the front before as the leaflets put it they would consider every car south of the river as a military target.
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so, we drove to a legendary village in the mythology of hezbollah and it's also a village that is assumed of mythic proportions for israel as well. this town symbolizes the heart of the hezbollah project. you might recall the name because of the fall when the president mahmoud ahmadinejad travel to lebanon he gave a provocative speech just over the border from israel and he picked the spot because it is a town where almost everyone in the town is active or a supporter and it is a place that has been over and over destroyed and with much fanfare rebuilt by hezbollah and the supporters, so they call this town the capitol, the islamist resistance for israel this time represents the first reading and on the devotee of his will was the five guerrilla army. they threw everything they can add it in each war and by the
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time it is over the town gets rebuilt, repopulate it and there it is again, this islamic resistance hydra they cut the head off of and it springs back to fold. so we went down and salles an unbelievable amount of wreckage. something i've never seen in any war zone i've covered. the entire commercial district in reduced to rubble. the streets were discernible because their role was only a foot or so deep instead of 6 feet deep and you can sometimes see the fall and electricity poles and wandering through this landscape of desolation, suddenly we be held a man would striding towards us with a great sense of purpose from between two piles of collapsed houses, he had a beard, a cargo pants and a cargo
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click on his belt and walked toward us. as soon as he got to as he planted his feet and said so did you get your story? in perfect english, much to my surprise. he introduced himself and sat down and spent the rest of the afternoon telling us why he had decided to dedicate his life to being a hezbollah fighters. he wasn't a poor hopeless man from a refugee camp, he was an educated upper middle class lebanese kid who had grown up in kuwait in a prosperous family, he studied engineering and after college he had decided his calling was to fight for the islamic resistance. he had moved at a time it was under israeli occupation and he had chosen to settle down, mary, start a family, while spending all of his energy in the service of this struggle, this epic struggle against israel. now this guy was a quintessential hezbollah enter
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condra and he was a member of -- a professional fighter and worked for, he wasn't one of the volunteers come he was the exemplary record of the community the tried to build. he was the kind of guy who served as a recruiter to hezbollah. he was a man who, in his community, led weekend trips for kids, he taught at the local community college, he also in secret trained fighters and he was much beloved by his neighbors and by the people and he was an odd mix of fanaticism and warmth of absolutist, frightening simplistic thoughts coupled with quite human and
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open cents. so he talked to me at length about the obligation of every good muslim to dedicate as much of their life as possible to destroying israel by force and then he also talked about the whole the struggles for good digestion which he thought there was a dictatorship to live a healthy life and be the kind of parent who never yelled at his children, and he talked about how he despised america and his relatives sometimes he couldn't stand to talk to them because anyone deemed to live in this filthy country is really be needed and then he would turn and say i really hope you and your friends can join me and my family for dinner after the war to get it's a pleasure to talk to you. and this was the style and
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contradiction of and in our party member of hezbollah, and this guy turned to his block from his ideas about everything. so he organized the politics are not hezbollah and also organized as i mentioned his ideas about child rearing. he thought of hezbollah has his family that hezbollah was his political party, his religion, it was his family, and it was his weekend activities. it was everything for him, and the way he described it, it was like a secret that anyone who wanted to be initiated would be lucky to be invited to be part of, and just talking to him for one afternoon one could sense how effective this man could be in his community at showing friends, relatives, children, visitors from abroad of lebanese descent coming to spend their summer vacation what he had was
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somehow magical, fulfilling and meaningful in a way that the lives of most others was not, that life and hezbollah was less empty than life for everyone else. he became for me the benchmark of of some sort of backbone of hezbollah, and it was quite a searing introduction into the culture, but it was really only the beginning of the answer i needed in order to make sense of how hezbollah worked and what its poll was over its followers. hezbollah, as i mentioned, has about a million supporters. very few of them to the level of the actual membership and number of men at arms is quite small. the number is in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, so that's the nucleus of the group.
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but we're -- who makes up the ranks of hezbollah? and i'm going to talk about a few people i met as the war unfolded who helped complete the picture. the second most indicative person i came to know well and spend a lot of time with beginning during the war was a young woman who was a nurse, trilingual in her early 20s, she studied at the american university of beirut and she ran the emergency room at one of the hospitals in the large port city in south lebanon when the war berkhout she was at a conference in beirut and the first thing she did was hailed a cab and headed south in the opposite direction of all of those trying to skip the beginning of the war she felt her place was in their war zone helping the efforts and
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felt so compelling the even though she had no official time for the party she considered herself a party loyalist. she didn't have a party, no one asked her to do this. this was her sense of patriotism coming into play and she viewed herself as a patriot and a society of hezbollah so here she was in her skirt, sood and heels, literally wading through the river because the bridge had already been bombed so that she could get the tire and the position she remained the next 34 days working in this hospital. now, she didn't seem at first glance at all like what one would expect the hezbollah partisan to look like. she had a hair she wore on covered waist length, she was happy, delighted to talk to foreigners, she had quite a flirtatious manner, she enjoyed
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the company of reporters and was very open about her family's, affections for hezbollah and the role of the people in her village and working with the islamist resistance and she felt basically that she had a very compelling story to tell and that if she told it to as many foreign journalists as possible the world would hear it and realized how fantastic hezbollah was and this sort of faith again was surprising. it's not anything i exited from a group that is been at the top of america's list of terrorists demons for three decades, and it was sort of violence. she couldn't imagine that someone who knew what his blood did and believed would think of the anything other than the best of the party. for her, the war, the cycle that had occurred was something like every five years of her entire life was simply a basic part.
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she was born and grew up in the israeli-occupied south lebanon, and it was hezbollah that restored per ton to her and her part of the country by averaging the guerrilla war against israel that forced it to pull out in 2000. to her and other villages in south lebanon like her, hezbollah was simply what they had instead of the country, hezbollah was the force that could them safe that protected them from israel and organize their lives so she didn't view the war even the one that his law provoked as the aggression, to her, they were simply what a dignified and powerful movement does in order to protect itself from a far more powerful enemy.
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the other really key inside i got from her was this sense that from her vantage point, from the vantage point of caswell's partisan in south lebanon come their way of life was always hanging in the balance. fayyad salles what limited freedom they had for the year 2000 as hanging by a thread, and at any moment enemies, it could be israel, it could be the u.s. allies government in beirut, it could be other rivals, political or militia movement inside lebanon, there were all these forces in her view arranged to try to take away this current dependence that hezbollah hammered out three years of blood and toil. so, seeing it that way, she was able to forgive virtually anything so long as hezbollah maintained its commitment perpetual war, so long as
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hezbollah was there physically to disband her and her village against the outside threats she was willing to forgive them if they were somewhat heavy handed or autocratic in their way or that they would squelch political dissent or they didn't allow her and her friends to organize their own secular summer camp as they try to do when they were teenagers because they refused to let the slightest amount of the civil society emerge the was independent from hezbollah, and for her hezbollah was a belief system. it didn't motivate to the extent the digit mauney fauzi. she's to go on and work for the party, but it was for animating creed, it was her religion and her idea and it was her political philosophy, and to a similar extent, it was a way of life. she competed for me the picture of the second year, what i call
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the soccer mom of the middle class of hezbollah, these were the activists who formed the movement activists who formed the core of hustle's activist base, they are not members, they are not paid, but in the times of crisis they will do with the party wants even if not directly asked to and they view their own interest as anonymous with the party. they number a few hundred thousand and they are sort of the -- they are the middle class board of hezbollah that turned it into this prosperous and really powerful increasingly dominant force outside lebanon. still doesn't get us anywhere close to a million. it's like one-third of hesla's case so what is it that takes us up to the million and to the size that has turned hezbollah into a threat we care about into a force that has become agenda setting in the region? well, that is a layer that was
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in karnei did to me on a personal level by a man i met towards the end of the war. he was introduced to me because i was looking still for a translator willing to go to these far-flung places getting bombed and the end of the war nobody wanted to do it. finally someone said i know a guy come he doesn't know anything about journalism, but he will do whatever you want. so i'm introduced to him, he comes to meet me and just starts rattling off to me in this heavy southern accent and i said where do you learn that english? he said you really want to know, man? i said yes, i do, and he sort of looked at me and said well, i used to be a drug dealer in
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atlanta. [laughter] he proceeds to tell me with great pleasure in the story of the decade or so he spent in atlanta he describes himself as a middleman, he drew on the lebanese connections to find suppliers and he was carrying cocaine for million to up to new york. i don't know how much of the specifics of this are true but given what i know it sounds certainly close to the truth. he eventually got a weapon and deported, sent back to lebanon. he really missed the strip clubs and on land. he talked about them with great affection. his american wife came with him briefly and said i cannot live here, i cannot live in hesla's controlled, i can't wear a head scarf, she returned to atlanta and he stayed. he was anything but hezbollah --
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he was nothing like these other characters i've described. if he were sitting in table they would have nothing to say to each other. but he and his brothers who stayed behind in lebanon and he'd become very religious, now he atheist didn't pray and is making fun of the guys and hezbollah. they take themselves so seriously, you know, they are so uptight come into this religious thing and it's ridiculous to him. but no surprise, he loves and at my years of the militant struggle against israel. that to him was fantastic because hezbollah was successfully resisting israel standing up to the regional dynamo and winning and he liked that. that's no surprise, you know, the guy who likes guns and guns
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and mr. plug this is probably going to like the guerrilla militants who shoot guns, but the surprise was that hezbollah welcome their support and that is what made them different from any other i ever encountered, secure is this group that had built itself on and ideologies of committed polis islamism and perpetual war. they have these two stat ideologies at the core, self-government, self improvement for a total commitment to islam and sort of mobilizing that the leaf through with a perpetual endless cycle of the war against the jewish state. now, you know, this is a pretty heady and intense and often destructive the set of ideas, but they were happy to have
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anyone's support so long as that person wasn't going to stand in their way. so he could make fun of their religion and support the war and as long as she wasn't going to be a security threat or political dissident the didn't care, they welcome it because they were happy to have it, and this was really the key to understanding how hezbollah had risen from small group, a tiny group of dedicated foot soldiers into this massive political movement, and it began to explain why they were able to in times of peace rely on this inner core of people who were driven all the time and then at the moments of crisis they could call of their followers and count on their undivided support for the moment of unrest and the times of street clash or war. this turned out to be a really
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in doherty and winning formula, and the other thing that distinguished hezbollah from any of the refund i encountered was the tireless this with which they personifies their ideologies and their religion to the followers, so weak in and week out he would get visitors at his house would say to you want to come pray with us? have you thought about giving up drinking? we don't mind you living the life to live and we know you go to the strip clubs when you think we don't know and that's fine, but have you ever thought of maybe changing your way and ten years later still working on it, and this kind of persistence and the movement activists, they mean it. it pays off. over the years, even just the five years that i've been following hezbollah fight scene people i know and talk to become more and more not only in their political commitment but over time in their religious and it a
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logical commitment to hezbollah. in fact, when i first met him, he talked a lot of humor and good will about how the dea caught up with him and that's why he got kicked out of america. by the time in 2010 rolls around, he had recast his memory of what happened in political terms. he told the story of being persecuted after 9/11 and that is why he was forced to leave america and the evil state of america had been so cruel they were willing to defy the family and forced him to live across and i said that isn't the story you told me. you told me your wife didn't want to live with you and he had already written the new chapter that fit in with hezbollah's narrative of the resistance and of the sort of righteous islamist force standing against the tyrannical union of the west and israel.
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you can imagine how compelling this set of ideas are especially if you take a step back and look at what the poverty of the political ideas in the middle east and this is a region where since the 50's when there has been an endless cycle of the war between israel and its neighbors, and the only idea that is going in the mainstream political world has been aired nationalism, which was a drastic dillinger, and then for a long time really nothing. small pockets of religious activism and secular political activism. nobody really articulated a brand compelling idea. and that's where hezbollah stepped in and was able really to what taken advantage of this vacuum and use its message to
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appeal to a whole swath of disenfranchised people who normally would have liked no trust and no interest either in islamism or perpetual war against israel. the person who helped me understand this element of his bill's strategy i met him after the war was over when i had to scrap my cargo pants and strategy and find a new way to talk to people when hezbollah, and i approached some of my lebanese friends and i said to you than you could arrange one of these underground meetings where i could get in the trunk of a car and go to a secret police and meet someone from hezbollah? and they just laughed at me and said why don't you call the press office? [laughter] so i got the number and called his bluff's press office and
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when i told them that i was interested and sort of putting together the things i learned from these rank-and-file members and trying to understand what was the bigger in a local project they were being deployed in the service of, they said go see our think tank. hezbollah has a think tank. at the time it was run by ollie. the office had been bombed during the war of the already removed the library and reconstitute it in a new place on the airport highway. when i went into the office, the first thing he said, he apologized to the translator and supply should be able to do this interview in english. it's my shane i cannot, but i am currently studying and god willing the next time we meet i will be able to talk to you in english. it turned out to be true. he is now fluent in english and in the academic terms about the
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islamist state building and what not. so that's the kind of a cover-up that hezbollah has and organizing the project. so, he sat down with me and behind him were shelves of the hezbollah position papers on everything from why there should be no jewish state to how to best improve sewage and water treatment in lebanon. they had blueprints for the electoral reform and how to change the lebanese voting system to make it look like england, and then of course the dossier full of the never ending grievances against israel, which began with some of the ones that you might have heard about, like the occupied part of mount term on but then ended with an incredible demand where no one
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in london on had ever heard of and won't unless the first 30 to get resolved. and i asked him, i said it sounds to me like you're the first that you have specific problems that sound resolvable, but it is an infinite list. he said as you know, we are dedicated to the state in the middle east. he said i thought you were just asking about the detail. i didn't realize you are asking that the big idea. the big idea is gone, and we make know about that and we are able he said to talk about the short-term details. that was interesting to me in the context in which islamists i talk too often try to soft pedal the parts of the belief system that they thought would be
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alarming to the west especially when they talk to the western reporters but never the case in hezbollah. they are quite open and comfortable with all the elements of their platform, the ones that make them sound good and the ones that make them sound horribly destructive and actual list. they are quite at ease with themselves and their beliefs, and it was refreshing coming from iraq and the west bank where it was often hard to tell what people really thought. when i talked to the people in hezbollah, i usually felt confident that they were telling me the truth about the beliefs often because the things they were telling me were not necessarily flattering. so, this -- what is the project hezbollah is engaged in.
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and what they are working towards and what is the message that the leader of hezbollah has convinced them to dedicate much if not all of their lives to serving, it goes ' to the holistic islam perpetual war, and this is more ecumenical the message then and sounds because they will come into the society of the islamic resistance christians come atheists, shia muslim movement welcomes the sunni islamist allies, it welcomes mom muslims and welcomes them on arabs, and the sort of central innovation in hezbollah's project is that the have been able to pare their religious values with a very
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generic political project that energizes i would say almost the entire arab public that doesn't sympathize america and israel so there's this whole groundswell of opposition and to america's project in the middle east that is perceived and there is no one alternative out there and that is this axis of resistance at hezbollah talks about and they have in their leader and an incredibly charismatic accident for the first idea that you have this idea where you have people like hosni mubarak making speeches that can hardly be called charismatic and this is what passes for leadership and then you have him coming out with speeches that keep people on the edge of their seat telling jokes admitting the
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mistakes that he made, changing and adapting its policies when he sees they're feeling this gains enormous attraction through the arab and islamist world and it's made him the most popular leader in the entire region. i think a lot of the people who sympathize with hezbollah were sympathizers with the party of god haven't considered the implication of the project because hezbollah doesn't want to create the islamic state in an lebanon. they eliminated from the platform and the build islamic practices to their community and they don't force them on a anyone outside it, but the implications of the project or clear. one is the society becomes almost entirely built up around the religious values and religious institutions. second, the society is constructed in the service as an endless cycle of war and that is
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the part of hezbollah's ideologies that people should make no mistake about. it is a cornerstone of hezbollah's identity. it's not their main activity. it's who they are. they are islamists, they are ready to fight at all times. and so there is no way in my view to imagine hezbollah somehow becomes a normal political party. they are sort of required by design to be poised for this endless cycle of the war. the other thing that's happened to hezbollah and the recent years and we've seen a very recently, they have designed themselves as the defenders of the underdog, the party of the dispossessed. they've become the most powerful party in lebanon and the most influential militant movements in the entire middle east so the fashion themselves as the
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tribune of the dispossessed and meanwhile, they have literally bottomless budgets to draw from iran, they have an incredible growing arsenal of rockets and weaponry at their disposal, and increasingly they've decided they are willing to play a direct role in controlling politics rather than the behind-the-scenes role that they preferred to starkly. so in 2006, hezbollah was on its heels been called into question by people in lebanon who fought why should this party be able to drag us into the war whenever it wants? hezbollah starts the war and at the end of the war half of lebanon is leveled. hezbollah is being criticized, has been criticized at that point by opponents inside lebanon, outside lebanon, all over the world within two short
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years hezbollah bounced back to be the dominant player in the lebanese politics. some people thought it would be finished by the end of the 2,006 war and for the time how it would turnout. and in the book i chart how they pull off this reversal and the choices they made and what they did by 2008 they sure they are willing to use the dial political maneuvering and of that field, brute force to crush their rifles and make sure no one could challenge their ability to run the militia to make the decisions of the war and peace and function as a state and its own right and content with that status quo with a few years until last month and they came under the threat again from not from israel, not being in the state, but from the international tribunal supported by the lebanese government to find the people who murdered him way back
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in 2005. so this encrust is about to invite members of hezbollah in this political assassination that took place five and half years ago and has allied used this as a threat as much as it used the israeli military and that is what caused the event of january when hezbollah essentially went to the prime minister of lebanon and said he's got to do everything in your power to be real the judicial process and stop it in its tracks, it was your father was murdered but we don't care if got to make this stop. he didn't exactly say no. he said honor will, but not right away, and he took too long for hezbollah's keys and toppled the government, and they were able to do this because they had more votes in parliament than the prime minister. they didn't do it by the coup,
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they did it by having their mp both against the prime minister and then they pick a new one, they pick the prime minister they like so for the first time in history, hezbollah directly used the political power along with a cultural and military power and the government. , but he is a mistake lee allied this juncture with hezbollah and it is a new dawn in the middle east. this isn't a radical shift. this is just another step in a process that's been underway for decades where sentiment that the political center of gravity has shifted towards groups and people who view themselves as part of the resistance axis and not of what they call an accommodation of success.
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people we would call moderates because the support american policy, not because they are actually moderate when it comes to things like civil liberties or freedom or tortured but any way in america we call them audited because they support our policy aims and they are discredited in the arab world, and what hezbollah tapped into and really has been part of creating is an alternative world view, and in my opinion, they are really well positioned to tap into the ground swell of public anger we see now in egypt, tunisia and jordan and syria and yemen all over the arab world people are rising up and in the last month and a half so it is an unprecedented and
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peaceful were mass of expressions of rage at misrule and if we look what size of the uprising they've been on the side of the antimubarak demonstrators in since day one. so while the united states is trying to chart this awkward course between being friendly to the dictator whose people hate him, hezbollah has been railing against mubarak for years literally, and now they can claim opportunistic we perhaps but also truthfully that they have been on the right side of this issue the whole time, and i have to say that is an awkward position for secular dimond militant support of the democratic initiative to find themselves on because one would hope that there would be a
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movement that is authentic, but also not in favor of the professional war and as the event in the arab world unfold over the next year or two, whatever happens in the short term with the power struggle when egypt, whatever happens with the u.s.-backed regimes around the region that are currently tottering, we are going to see the new dialect, the new dialogue instead of the arab world about what the public's could sound like and politics would look like and the ideologies of resistance and the things that come with it, the professional war and deeply rooted religionocity are going to be the central part of the dialogue that's not to say that islamists are about to take over across the arab world that's not what i mean at all, but i do mean that as we start to listen
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to an authentically arab politics taking shape a lot of the language and the ideas are going to be shaped by the movement and the theological juggernaut that hezbollah has created over 30 years, so i think we can look forward to a lot of changes. some of them are going to make american nervous and people's lives better and some of them are going to make us worse. it's a really exciting time during which no expert should dare tell you they have any confidence of its plan to turn out, because there is no way anyone can know what authority who is going to win and what forces are going to shape the arab world tomorrow. we just know what some of the key stakeholders and ideas are going to be coming and we have to -- we are going to have to use our best brains to try to figure out how to get on board.
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so, thank you very much for your attention, and i would be happy to take your questions on the microphone up front. [applause] >> my name is scott, and i want to ask you if israel had the opportunity to take out, would the dewitt? i've seen him give speeches on the cover and all of that. >> i think if israel had told leaders of hezbollah in the past, and he's been in charge since 1992, at this point, i am not sure israel could do it. the security precautions that he takes and such during the war in 2006 is certainly one to strike and in the past a think it was a time when they decided they kept getting worse and worse they would get someone who is better
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and that's what happened between 90 to 92. they killed the predecessor about who had already begun to reemerge as the guerrilla war and endicott knous rollin who turn hezbollah into the force we know today. so on one level, i think israel isn't sure whether it just makes it worse, and at this point i don't think they have a choice. but there's an important implication which is how important is the person to hezbollah's success? and there is a lot of different views on this. certainly this by is without peer in the politics today if he were to disappear from the scene, it's hard to imagine whoever replaces him could quickly duplicate both the
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reporting of the public and the authority he had. one of the stories about him is that's instrumental in the views of his followers is in 1998 his teenage son was killed in a raid against the israeli troops and the night his son was killed he was scheduled to give a speech and he gave the speech as scheduled and halfway through broke out for maybe three or four minutes into a version of his son who just died and what he said was for the first time i can look at my followers without shame because i now also have given an order for my family and i can get the other parents of the marchers and no longer be embarrassed. that's all he said about it, and that is something that the site to identify with him and the party and throw the rest of the middle east leaders send their kids to paris and new york and
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london to live out comfortable and wealthy young wives and of her father's law or get killed and then they come over and take over the family business of running the political party of the country and people really relate to nasral. >> as a foreigner who had boots in the ground were you ever given the thought that you might be conducted abducted? >> thank you for the question. has the law hasn't kidnapped journalists since the 80's. i have no doubt that the circumstance would change when they decided that foreign journalists were a threat i would be under a threat. but, you know, the worst thing for me to do is not talk to us which i got a fair amount of but under the law were met from the gunfire and bombing during the war and for the time being in
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the years i was working uncovering hezbollah, it was simply dealing with a somewhat totalitarian movement in the houses that afford. >> since you mentioned hezbollah's goal is to eradicate israel, if they succeed, what do they do after? is it going to change their lives or proved? that's number one. number two, hezbollah has been reported to have upwards of 40,000 rockets available for attacking israel. at what point if any do you think there would be the impetus to use these rockets? >> to the first question i think their must be some tongue-in-cheek. i don't think there is any chance of hezbollah wiping israel of the map so they are going to have their enemy for a
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long time to come and the question of course is, the way of putting that is what if the palestinians and the israelis have the durable peace treaty but what hezbollah do and it's a huge amount of the and vintage. they would have a lot of trouble saying we are going to fight the war against israel to the last man while the people who live on the same land of israel have made a deal with them. i also don't think there is any likelihood of that happening anytime soon. so we are now going to have the pleasure of worrying about that. i wish we would. but for the foreseeable future they are going to have their enemy and that's going to stay with them. what about the next war? when is it ready to be? for the last few years israel and hezbollah has enjoyed a sort
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of deterrent balance hezbollah as you mentioned has upwards of 40,000 rockets. they have rearmed far beyond the level they have in 2006. israel as well has completely revamped its defenses and has repaired a lot of the holes in its northern defenses that became apparent during the 2006 war was so neither side has a short-term incentive for the war just now but both sides have a deep sense for the war. from israel's perspective, they believe that the properly executed war would conclusively the great hesla's capacity to pose a threat. so, israel would like at some
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point, for strategically to have a war during which they could ravage the military infrastructure and israel's few minimize the threat it poses. his philosophy of calculus is different. in my opinion, has always be the biggest incentive for the war is the legitimacy. by definition, hezbollah wins every war with israel because of the need to do to win this survive, so when the war happens at the end hezbollah will still be standing and functioning and have its supporters and houses that have been bombed can be rebuilt, weapons destroyed can be really important, and what i've seen in the last few years in lebanon is mind blowing. it takes half as long to get them going in south lebanon because of the roads built since to those of six. the completely revamped the infrastructure of the entire area under their control it's better than it was before and
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the message to the people don't worry. another war even if it is ten times worse than the last one we will rebuild better than before. it might take a few years but we can do it. as the impetus for the war becomes when they are under threat by the constituent and that is why i am very nervous right now about the prospect of the war because with this tribunal, it is going at some point to name the hezbollah members and when it does come there will be of a huge crisis because for hezbollah one of the central source of legitimacy is they are not sectarian lawyers. they don't hurt other lebanese or arabs. the fight the israeli enemy and that's it, and they protect their fellow arabs. now it turns out they were involved in the murder of this sunni primm minister it's going to be very hard -- there's no
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way to explain that while keeping the sort of the ideological purity. that's why the - they've come up with is actually israel killed and then they said this tribunal with made up evidence to make it look like we did it and it is a crazy story. it works with his the's followers and they believe it, and her lover, if it comes to the crisis point which it might, the only way out is a war with israel because once the war with israel no one can kasai says will. once bombs are falling on the route and the villages of lebanon, nobody, no matter how much they despise hezbollah or the war is going to say a single thing critical of it and that's their sort of get out of jail
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free card to sacrifice their country to save their face. i mean, in their view they are restoring the fight in their country, and the thing is that isn't just their view it is about half of the lebanese people, and that's why it keeps working. they are not wasting the this idea -- the are not a small minority foisting this idea on the majority of. deer sorted internally force representing about half of lebanon that that voice of the other half that or destroying our country for your project. but it's the grassroots they have to do this again and again. >> roi i was wondering if you could tell me what his bill's view is regarding persecution of violence against the muslims outside of lebanon and some
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countries that come to mind like iraq and pakistan and further, do you ever see hezbollah forming into the shia movement? >> they've worked to be hard for in a logical beacon for the movement but they've been careful not to -- they don't want our beyond lebanon, they want influence beyond the borders they sent advisers to hamas for example and gaza and they cannot operate a lot with outreach efforts to the shia activists and militants in places like iraq and they speak publicly about all these issues. they don't want to direct the piece of the conflicts. they have to a limited extent succeeded themselves of the bridge at a time the muslim world does resemble the sectarian split between the shia
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and sunni muslims and hezbollah fashion themselves as a group that shows that you can be -- with a trip to show is they can be islamist -- shia islamists and get share a fraternal bond with other muslims from other sectors and even the non-muslims and the whole idea is sort of, you know, if you support resistance or are godly and both you have so much in common that your secretary in stripe is of secondary importance. i think that is internally and coherent, because if you spend time with hezbollah as i have it is clear that they are shia movement and increasingly the core our millenial shia who subscribed to some pretty esoteric beliefs about a particular kind of end of the world time coming soon where the body will arrive, and so it's a very particular brand of the shia fox.
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it's hard to be that, and at the same time a secretary and nationalist panic ideological movement. they've managed to gloss with us over by seceding as long as they keep beating israel on the battlefield, the audiences are willing to overlook the fact that doesn't make sense. but in the long term, i think unless they somehow managed to never stumble they are going to have some unraveling over these internal contradictions. ..
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[laughter] your first question, in the west people look at lebanon as a fanatic then there is the martyr on the other side. if you look at those who are described as moderates as the marvell corporation -- march 14 coalition, it is made up of a lot of parties that to me look pretty fascist. none of them are democratic those to dismantle leadership and never had the internally election with zero interest and respect
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for civil liberties lawyer pluralism or will block and authoritarian and the reek of the old civil war herbal lachey ease those that translates into the politics so if you are lebanese look at the choice is. on the one side you highet day -- to have a lot of the leaders whose rhetoric is the muslims will kill and kill us and it is to band together to fight the mob with this rhetoric and then with resistance. it is not a choice between moderation and if anything they sound a lot less admirable than the moderates. it really does confuse the issue especially for people
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in lebanon who are secular moderates because they know where to turn pro now women with hezbollah. that to is one of the most interesting aspects of the society that hezbollah has managed to create. i like to say that the women are really the cornerstone to the movement and turn it into something that has such an enduring and resilience bedrock. to be time there is a war. and massive amounts of destruction in people's homes are destroyed every time in people's kids get killed. for it to happen wants, anything can happen wants but for people to be willing with good cheer and high energy to volunteer again and again require
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something hezbollah manages to do at buy yen at the level of the women in the households that hezbollah has worked hard to reach a and implicate and these women become the bedrock of the ideas and of the willingness to fight for them. i write about this a fair amount now the mother's four murders how do they differ for the psychological profile from bozell or the west bank? they were grieving their dead children. not a single one said i am happy my child died. but they did say i am proud and i would send another kid to do it. they work with their surviving children to build
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a sense of pride of the martyrs of their family. and it is what makes hezbollah for people who were willing to die and in some ways it is breathtaking the sophistication of the social network that is built up around the idea. when the young fighter dies dies, and becomes a martyr, the party and a psychologist and social workers send family to work with them to make sure they do with depression and make sure the kids are doing okay, adjusting, succeeding in school. because they care about
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their members but also because they want people in society to see the families are the ones who drive. if you have a martyr in your family the foundation will make sure the surviving kids go to the best schools and encourage though widowed to remarry usually to someone of high status within the party. often another fighter. the results is they build the edt and at the core is the mothers and widows of the murders who exemplify the most successful man is in this society. people say this is the way to climb to the pinnacle of my society to be willing to give my life. if i am chosen to die, then my family will be even more
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blessed. it is incredibly effective. >> this is the last question. >> the library and said. [inaudible] how do they define god? >> is a eighth game the way they do to make them different from any other religious party? i would say it is amazing what distinguishes hezbollah as the party of god from all of the other parties they build themselves on the
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religious ideas and colluding a number of parties that are not related to hezbollah or lebanon. the difference is hezbollah seems to really mean it and seems not to be using the religious credo as an excuse to have a militia with the endless war. they believe sincerely in the religious creed and the endless war and nearly 30 years after their founding they are still growing and the fervor of the followers is still growing. i would point* to the fact they take time and spend money and energy in the religious instruction of the part of what they do and never sideline that that is the first thing they do any military training, health care, it begins and ends with a religious lesson.
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it is not expedient and that has bled into the community. that is a bad metaphor. it has spread into the foundations of their daily believe structure and and has made them sound like evangelicals when they are not talking about lowered trying to spread the good news how good it is to be great with guide and it is always a little jarring because switching gears i think it is the sincerity that makes it so effective. [inaudible]
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>> to the brick etfs and china? we have brazil and russia with their natural resources push them up with opportunities to make it is a great question i will answer very quickly. the question is where they get the money to give it away? most of the caches from iran which is the sale money and cash from their own supporters from the network of people to give two hezbollah propose setting aside the budget summit is it a waste? most of the money they spend is not on armaments part of the war they waged is very
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expensive, but rockets are cheaper ak-47s are cheap and most money is building houses and hospitals and running services and building roads and the stuff they see them do in lebanon, the schools and social networks, not where the money goes and to salaries. it is not going down missing quote there is a good position to take but nonetheless the activities in gauge week to week of her where they spend the money. they are very capitalist they have a lot of private investments and encourage people to get rich and in favor of values as long as they don't contradict the
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islamic resistance. they like prosperity and are in favor. thank you very much for your time. have a good night. [applause]
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>> i am just delighted to be here tonight. i am a trustee of the museum and freedom forum and it is a great pleasure to be part of this remarkable program. there is a lot going on right now not as if the world was quiet their crude


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